It used to take a village

By Taiwo Abiodun-Oni

A few days back, a scene unfolded in Nigeria that painted a vivid picture of our changing ethos. A tanker, its belly full of fuel, lay toppled on its side, victims of its accident gasping for life’s breath. Yet, instead of hands reaching out to pull the wounded from the wreckage, many were busy scooping fuel, their jerry cans thirstier than their hearts. This poignant moment serves as a metaphor for the greater shift occurring within Nigeria’s social fabric.

In the heart of Nigerian folklore rests an adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This wisdom, deeply ingrained in our nation’s spirit, symbolizes the essence of community and the collective duty of nurturing our youth. But, as we stand at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, this village, once bound by shared values, appears to be disintegrating.

The distant winds from the West, bearing tales of individualism, have found eager listeners among us. These tales, brimming with personal achievements and self-worth, are seductive. And while there’s no denying the allure of individual rights and dreams, the overpowering volume of these narratives threatens to drown out our own Nigerian symphonies of community and togetherness.

Beyond these external influences, a transformation brews within our borders – an emerging culture of self-centeredness. The Nigerian horizon, once painted with the collective aspirations of its people, is increasingly overshadowed by individual ambitions. The shift from ‘us’ to ‘me’ is not just a change in perspective; it’s a seismic shift, threatening to crack the very ground upon which our communal values stand.

Amidst this tumultuous backdrop, it’s our children who bear the brunt. Once nurtured by the entire community, many now wander, lost in the growing chasm of neglect. The alarming rise in drug problems among Nigerian youth is a heart-wrenching manifestation of this. The communal well, once a hub of stories and shared dreams, now seems distant, with many young souls parched in the wilderness of despair.

The prioritization of wealth over unity further deepens our divide. Nigerian markets, once alive with the rhythm of camaraderie, now resonate with the sterile chime of coins. Brotherhood, once priceless, now seems to have a tag, and the rich tapestry of our shared history is at risk of being auctioned to the highest bidder.

A Call to Remember

As the Nigerian sun dips below the horizon, casting shadows over our lands, a reflective hush descends. The village, which once stood as a beacon of unity, now seems fractured, its bonds strained.

But in this twilight, there’s also hope. By acknowledging these shifts and reweaving our narratives, Nigeria can rekindle its spirit of community. For every hand that reaches for a jerry can, let there be ten that reach out to uplift a fellow Nigerian. Only then can we rebuild our village and ensure that our children grow, surrounded by the warmth and care of a united nation.

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